Cancer prevention project for rural women in Tamil Nadu

Sydney Medical School, Weill Cornell Medical College (USA), Cancer Council Australia & Christian Medical College Vellore, India are working together to build a cancer prevention partnership for women in Tamil Nadu, India

Cervical and breast cancers are the most common cancers amongst Indian women. The focus of this collaboration is on breast and cervical cancer prevention. The ‘Educate, Screen & Treat’ program is intended to detect breast and cervical cancer & initiate treatment in the early stages of disease. The University of Sydney has an international reputation in cancer screening epidemiology and in health literacy.

The Cancer Prevention project is based in RHUSA, the rural hospital of Christian Medical College (CMC), approximately 3.5 hours drive south of Chennai. The project involves community-based peer education and implementation of cervical cancer screening through 18 community-health-centre-based clinics in the Kavikupam block of Tamil Nadu.

It is jointly funded by University of Sydney IPDF Grant, Weill Cornell Medical College and Cancer Council Australia.

In a resource-poor setting like rural Tamil Nadu, there is good evidence that visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) is an effective strategy for detecting early precancerous lesions of cervix and thereby reducing the incidence of advanced invasive forms of cervical cancer and that clinical breast examination might lower breast caner mortality. VIA, a low technology method is used in the ‘Educate, Screen, Treat’ program at CMC Hospital.

For further information contact :

, Associate Dean International and Director of the Office for Global Health, Sydney Medical School


Dr Rita Isaacs, CMC Vellore

Dr Lyndal Trevena, Sydney Medical School

Professor Madelon Finkel, Weill Cornell Medical College

Professor Ian Olver, Cancer Council Australia